Category Archives: General

Brexit: Unknown unknowns

We are repeatedly being told that “Brexit means Brexit” – but what does that actually mean? At the moment we are still a long way from really understanding the impact of Brexit on our daily lives. The Minister in charge of Brexit, David Davis, told Parliament last week that he didn’t yet know what sort of arrangements the UK would end up with in terms of trade, free movement of people or indeed any of the other hundreds of areas of policy which will be affected by Britain leaving the European Union. Continue reading

Influencing People, Power & Place

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This blog was contributed by Emily Georghiou, local influencing adviser, at Age UK. 

On 1 September, the Age UK network came back from the summer break with a bang. A packed room – of local Age UK partners, Age UK staff, Lord Filkin (Chair of the Centre for Ageing Better) and experts from local government – gathered together at our 2016 Influencing Conference.

Our theme was ‘How to win friends and influence people’ – particularly those people with the power to help us deliver a better future for our ageing society

In an increasingly devolved and localised context, it is crucial for our network of variously sized local Age UKs (160+ of them) and partners in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to have a shared understanding of our operating context.  Our annual get together is an important opportunity for the network to realise its unique strength – its national oversight and local presence – and the partnership’s potential to support the UK to be a great place to grow older.

In the context of increasing pressure on resources and threats to local services, ‘influencing’ can feel like a nicetohave.  Yet it is crucial that we’re able to speak truth to power about the reality and challenges of later life in the UK from our unique position of expertise and understanding.

As well as relationships and connectivity being key to ageing well, one theme which ran through the day was the fundamental importance of place.  It is important that wherever we live and whatever our age, we can access the essentials of a good life.  As the conference explored, there is a real need to connect, communicate and collaborate to remove the barriers which older people face to living well and contributing to community resilience.

Our Age Friendly Places guide has been developed as a tool for dialogue and leadership in local communities – recognising the need for a place based approach, joined up solutions and the role that the voluntary sector and older people themselves can play, if enabled.  With an increasingly diverse and ageing population, it is more important than ever that we maintain health, wellbeing and independence into later life (today or tomorrow) and live in places which support all of us to:

  • have opportunities to enjoy life and feel well
  • participate in society and feel valued for our contribution;
  • have enough money to live well
  • feel safe, comfortable and secure at home, connected to our communities
  • able to live an active lifestyle and access quality health and care

Some of the solutions to more effective partnerships with people and places may lie in technological solutions – helping us connect, collaborate and communicate more effectively.  It was perhaps then a fitting end to the day that our final speaker was from Change.org the digital campaigners “world platform for change”.  Her top tips for campaigning success were to always:

1) Make it personal

2) Build a community

3) Think small to build a big movement.

Wise words for any successful influencing initiative.

As we heard from our speakers- with ongoing austerity, Brexit Britain in the balance and a UK still not ready for ageing – the challenges are many and the jeopardy far too great for those who won’t win the ageing-well lottery.  That is why we must all play our part in influencing people, power and places to shape the future we all want – wherever we live and whoever we are – a great place to grow older.

Read our Age friendly places guide to support local dialogue in your community 

Guest blog: The debate about age and insurance is changing

This guest post was contributed by Duncan Minty, an ethics consultant specialising in the insurance market. 

Insurers have always wanted to know lots of things about the people applying for a policy, so any trend that simplifies that is bound to be good, isn’t it? My first inclination would be to answer yes, but at the same time, I would then wonder what has changed.

Has insurance become simpler? That would be great, but seems a bit unlikely. Or are insurers obtaining the information they need from other sources? That seems more likely. After all, the much talked about digital era has resulted in huge amounts of data being created about how we shop, where we travel, what we ‘like’, etc. Continue reading

Guest blog: It’s our right to be safe at any age. How can we make it easier for older victims to get help?

This week we have a guest blog from the charity SafeLives to highlight how domestic abuse affects older people. 

Monsura Mahmud is a Domestic Abuse Prevention Adviser for the Silver Project, a specialist service for women aged 55 and over affected by domestic and sexual abuse. The project is run by Leading Lights-accredited Solace Women’s Aid and provides one-to-one support, as well as training professionals who come into contact with older victims.

In the first of two blogs, Monsura draws from the experiences of service users to highlight some of the challenges older women face when accessing support. Information regarding the scale of this issue can also be found in our new Spotlights series: Spotlight #1: Older people and domestic abuse. Continue reading